Indian food roadtrip blowback
Thursday, April 7 2011
location: five miles south of Staunton, rural Augusta County, Virginia
After making coffee and replacing a whole-trailer water filter under the Creekside doublewide, it was time to gather my stuff and hit the road. The day promised to be beautiful and sunny, and I wanted to leave early so as to avoid driving in darkness. I started my drive at about 10:00am, drinking out of the one coffee cup my mother Hoagie was willing to spare, a smallish cup with a weird folk art cat painting on it. It had been made in Japan (yes, actually Japan) back in 1987. The reason Hoagie had been willing to give this cup up was that its handle was cracked and could fail at any time. Thanks mom!
It wasn't long into the drive when I realized that the number two I'd taken this morning had been insufficient for the state of my lower gastrointestinal tract, troubled as they were by last night's ultra-spicy chana masala. I kept feeling these waves of discomfort wash across my bowels. I'd ride them out and then feel okay for five or ten minutes but then another wave would come through. Alright, alright, I told that part of my body, I'll take the next exit. Once I'd made that decision the pain was relentless. I took an exit just south of Woodstock, Virginia
(yes, Virginia has one too), went into the rest room in a Shell station
(38.829604N, 78.573929W), and proceeded to pour a material that felt to me like molten rock out of my anus. Not wanting to waste a moment, I had my laptop open on my lap so I could tap out a sentence or two of the post from two days before. There was no WiFi. At some point I heard the door to the bathroom swing open and shut and then nothing for a minute or two. And then I heard a pained sigh that sounded like an eleven year old boy who really needed to do more in the bathroom than simply go pee pee. So I hurried up and returned myself to respectable decency. Sure enough, just outside my stall was an eleven year old boy with an anxious look on his face. He darted into the stall and he didn't even wait for me to leave before making the sounds of a plastic ketchup bottle. It seems Indian food is popular in the Shenandoah Valley on Wednesday nights.
I had a little of the hair that bit me out at my car, finishing the last of the nan and chana masala with only a fraction of the vast amount of remaining basmati rice. The chana masala was still spicy, but it had lost a lot of the kick it had had the night before (in contradiction to a theory advanced by Gretchen's mother a week and a half ago).
After I'd taken care of business in Woodstock, the ride back to New York went well. The only problem was that I hadn't brought enough audio programming, and found myself listening to the same Thula and Lowgold songs over again; I'd already heard most of my podcasts at least twice (not necessarily a bad thing, particularly when the concepts discussed are a little complicated).
My only other stop on the drive was outside Hershey, Pennsylvania. And no, despite the location, it wasn't because I really needed to use the bathroom again. I needed to refuel and get another cup of road coffee. For the last 17 miles of my drive, I drank a Starr Hill Northern Lights IPA (from the brewery in Charlottesville). It is not an especially good IPA; the southeast is about as far from the Pacific Northwest as one can get in the United States. This applies on many philosophica spectra, including what a good beer should taste like.
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